Fix Universal Type Client "OS Activation errors"

Extensis seems to acknowledge that a bug exists with their font management applications (both Suitcase Fusion and Universal Type Client) that results in "OS Activation error" messages with certain fonts. This is a frustrating bug for graphic designers using Mac OS X, since the fixes described in the documentation do not always work, or require a reboot to complete.

I've discovered a fix and packaged the routine into a handy Automator application called Purge-Font-Cache-UTC. It does not require a reboot, and has successfully allowed fonts to activate that previously generated the "OS Activation error" messages. As with most free software, there is no warranty and you take full responsibility for any use.

You can download Purge-Font-Cache-UTC by clicking here.

Here is what happens under the hood when you run the application, comprised mostly of shell scripts:

  • killall FMCore (this will quit UTC if it was running)
  • atsutil databases -removeUser (this is the cure for the problem: the corrupt User font cache is deleted)
  • atsutil server -shutdown (this stops the OS font service, fontd, and spawns a new one)
  • open /Applications/Universal\ Type\ (this reopens UTC and FMCore should restart with it)

Now try activating those fonts that were not working previously. They should work just fine now. You may or may not need to relaunch your design application to reflect the newly activated fonts. Let me know if you have any feedback or suggestions here.